Each year Exhibit Surveys, Inc. releases the latest statistical norms for trade show audience quality, audience activity and exhibit performance indicators. Just a few of the key indices we regularly report are shown below (an additional 16 indices are reported annually). If you would like more information on trade show industry trends, please let us know. Click here to view the EXHIBITOR magazine article featuring our most recent Tradeshow Trends or request additional information by filling in our Information Request Form.
Audience Quality and Activity Indicators
These Indicators give an overview of the buying power and activity of trade show visitors. The following charts illustrate the change in a few of our key Audience Quality and Audience Activity Indicators (Total Buying Plans, Net Buying Influences, Traffic Density, Average Hours Viewing Exhibits, and First-time Attendees) over the last 14 years.
Total Buying Plans (TBP) is the percentage of attendees planning to buy one or more of the products/services exhibited at a trade show within next twelve months after the event. Total Buying Plans has been relatively flat over the last 14 years. Approximately one of every two attendees is planning to buy one or more products exhibited as a result of attending trade shows.
Net Buying Influences (NBI) is the net percentage of attendees who have one or more roles (final say, specify supplier, and/or recommend) in purchasing the types of products exhibited. Net Buying Influences is traditionally one of the more stable indicators of audience quality.
Traffic Density is a measure of the average number of attendees who occupied every 100 sq. ft. of exhibit space throughout the period the show is open. Variables in the calculation include total net attendance (excluding exhibitors), total paid exhibit space, average number of hours the attendees spend viewing the exhibits, and the total number of hours the show is open. Traffic Density is an indicator of the activity and synergism on the exhibit floor. Densities that are very high (over 5) make it difficult for effective face-to-face contact and thus adversely affects performance. Densities below 1.2 make it difficult for exhibitors to compete for the time and attention of attendees. Traffic Density has remained relatively flat over the past 14 years.
Average Hours Spent Viewing Exhibits measures the time attendees spend on the show floor visiting exhibits, and not the entire event. Several factors may be contributing to this decline including attendees coming to the show better prepared, smaller shows in some cases, and attendees in general being more time-starved.
First Time Attendees measures the percentage of attendees who visit a specific show for the first time and is a measure of success in attracting new attendees to the show. The average percentage of first-time attendees at shows has declined slightly over time. Ideally, a healthy show has a good mix of first-time to previous show attendees. Exhibitors should look at the overlap in attendance from the standpoint of how often a fresh look and/or approach is needed. The lower the overlap, the longer the same exhibit properties, graphics, presentations, and other booth initiatives can be used without fear of overexposure to the same audience.
Exhibit Performance Characteristics
With the focus of corporate management on measuring ROI, companies often think of measurement as only assessing bottom-line results from exhibiting ( message communication, brand enhancement, awareness building, lead generation, sales from leads, PR results achieved). Measuring bottom-line results is important, but we believe that measurement should do more than measure ROI. If ROI is not good, what are the reasons? Is it the fault of the show, the exhibit, or the personnel working the exhibit? Listed below are three of the 12 top-line indicators of exhibit performance that Exhibit Surveys Inc. tracks.
Exhibit Attraction is the percentage of an exhibitor's Potential Audience who remembered visiting a company's exhibit. The function of the physical exhibit is to selectively attract its Potential Audience from among the total audience at the show. Factors which most often determine success in this regard include: awareness for the company and its products among the audience, pre- and at-show promotion, exhibit design and graphics, demos and attention-getting techniques, interest in products or services exhibited, and exhibit size. Over the past several years, exhibitors have been more successful in selectively attracting their Potential Audience.
Exhibit Efficiency is the percentage of a company's Potential Audience with whom they had meaningful engagement. Meaningful engagement includes face-to-face interactions like talking to exhibit staff, viewing a demonstration, and/or requesting follow-up. Factors which impact Exhibit Efficiency are number of demos and personnel on duty relative to size of Potential Audience, quality and performance of staff and demos, alignment of staff profile with attendee profile, and staff training. Exhibit Efficiency has recently increased because as attendance at shows has decreased, companies are committing necessary resources of staff and demos, optimizing their full potential. Exhibit Efficiency is one of the most important indicators of performance because there is strong correlation between the level and quality of meaningful engagement in the exhibit and the results that can be achieved.
The average Cost-per-Visitor Reached (CVR) figures are based on the total direct cost of exhibiting. The Attraction CVR is the cost per attendee who recalled having some exposure to the exhibit and is a part of the exhibitor's Potential Audience. The Exhibit Efficiency CVR is the cost per attendee who is part of the Potential Audience who recalls having meaningful engagement. These figures differ from cost per lead or cost per inquiry because they are based on all visitors who are part of the Potential Audience and not just leads or inquiries. The Attraction CVR has steadily increased over the past several years as costs of goods and services has also increased while continuing to selectively attract a high percentage of their Potential Audience. The Exhibit Efficiency CVR has increased at a higher rate because exhibitors are not taking full advantage of having meaningful engagement with those attracted. In fact, as Exhibit Efficiency declines, it magnifies the increase in the Exhibit Efficiency CVR.